Public Policy Group's Report Draws Mixed Views from Area Lawmakers

Clarksburg Exponent-Telegram - Area lawmakers have mixed reactions to a public policy research group's call to raise "sin" taxes, close loopholes in the sales tax and eliminate greyhound breeding subsidies. Read

Lawmakers said they agree with some of the recommendations in the report by the West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy, but not all of them.

"I agree with some of those, and some of those I haven't formed an opinion on," House Minority Leader Tim Miley, D-Harrison, said.

"Certainly, in this budget crisis, we need to take a look at all possibilities for finding additional revenues so we don't have to cut services to the citizens of West Virginia," Sen. Mike Romano, D-Harrison, said.

"Confronting the Fiscal Gap" — by the center's Executive Director Ted Boettner and senior policy analyst Sean O'Leary — blames the current fiscal crisis on years of tax cuts and a struggling energy sector.

Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin's proposals to raise taxes on tobacco products and extend the sales tax to telecommunications services is a good first step, the report's authors say.

But they aren't enough to address the state's revenue shortfalls that are leading to cuts to higher education and other investments to build a strong, diverse economy, they add.

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